I am a veteran. I served my country -- proudly -- from 24 years, and through three wars (Panama, Gulf War, Iraq).
And yesterday, I lost a bit more of my rights as a citizen in this great republic. My non-voting representative from D.C. lost her ability to vote on the House floor in the Committee of the Whole.
I lost this. So did 4.5 million of my fellow citizens from D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Pacific Islands. Many of us want to be U.S. States -- DC clearly does, and a growing number in PR do as well. We serve our country; we fight in the nation's wars, are subject to conscription, and do so without complaint. In DC, we pay federal income taxes, where others do not -- as they are territories or possessions, and do not have to pay.
In DC, our licenses plates say "Taxation Without Representation." Honestly, I thought it was nothing more than as-usual politics about those license plates. That is, until yesterday. Now, I have no voice in the Republic. My representative, who could not vote on bills (but could as part of the Committee of the Whole), lost her ability to speak for me and my fellow citizens. It was done without a conference, committee meeting or a vote. It was done by dictate by the new speaker of the House. It was done without the people speaking, and it effectively suppressed what little rights we had in Congress as much as a a grandfather test did in the Jim Crow South.
I am an American. I was an American soldier; I suppose part of me always will be.
But my voice no longer matters. I am to just pay taxes, spill blood if needed in defense of the nation, and dare not ask for the right to be represented by a duly elected Congressman or Congresswoman.
I have to ask... where is the Tea Party in all of this? Am I not a real American, worthy of just as much anger and outrage as someone concerned over imaginary "death panels"?
Tax me and give me representation. Or don't tax me and keep representation for others. But do one or the other.
That was the real lesson of the original Tea Party -- if you tax people but deny them the right to collective representation... there is a word for that.
That word is tyranny.